Democracy Kids

Democracy Kids is an interactive website that presents information on Legislators and Congress.  The site is colorful and user friendly, providing information in an easy to understand format. How does government affect our lives?  How can we make a difference?  Why is it important to stay informed?

There are short videos on topics such as, citizen participation and Women in Congress, that will assist students as they work through the learning module.

This is one of the resources available from NCSL, the  National Conference of State Legislatures, which is a bipartisan organization.  The NCSL serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories.  NCSL will hold a summit in Chicago August 6-9.

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Lit2Go: Civil Rights

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence

Up from Slavery

Civil Rights and Conflict

Selections from James Weldon Johnson

W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk

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Summer suggestions

Summer – a time for relaxation, picnics, and outings.  It is also a time when educators take stock of what they have accomplished and how they can develop future lessons. Here are a few web sites that offer useful classroom tools.

  • Verizon Thinkfinity is a personal favorite because of the quality of the items you’ll find here.  Lessons are complete with connected links and handouts.  The interactives are user friendly and students enjoy learning through the activities. Consider joining the Florida Thinkfinity community and share with other educators.
  • Dabbleboard is an online white board that allows you to communicate ideas in a visual manner.
  • Dropbox is a must for the educator who likes to have access to files when at home or on the run.
  • Hot Potatoes, as indicated on the web site, “includes six applications, enabling you to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the World Wide Web.”
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Technology Integration Sample

The Technology Integration Matrix is a valuable resource for teachers to gain insight into the creation of lessons that help students reach the Infusion and Transformation levels. The selected sample is a “Biography of Thomas Jefferson” student project.  Take a look at the video and listen to the explanation provided by the student.

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Road signs

Use images from FCIT’s ClipPix ETC to introduce the activity below.

Reading Road Signs
Students:  Write down the words from signs that are seen while walking or riding through the area.  Limit to road signs, but adjust if you’d like to include business signs etc.  Give a reasonable length of time to complete this step if assigned for homework.

Organizing the signs:
Place students in groups of four.
Create one list of 20 signs from each group of four.
Use Kagan’s RoundRobin and select a recorder at each table.
Kagan’s Round Robin Structure is designed to give everyone in the group an equal chance at participation.  Starting with one participant, each person gets 1- 3 minutes going clockwise or counterclockwise, to present their point of view, share a response,  or read a selection. This structure can be used as a warm up, evaluation, or to share something learned.

Each group should go round the table and read a word from the student’s list. If other’s have the word, check it off.   No repeats. If a student has no list, the student must contribute one sign from memory that has not been stated. Continue until 20 words are listed, preferably five from each person at the table.

Once each table has a list of 20 words from signs, you may assign other activities, such as:
Arrange the list of 20 words in Alphabetical Order.
Classify the words by putting them into categories: such as business,  transportation, home improvement and so forth.

Individually, each person is to describe one sign from the list:
What kind of sign is it?
Where is it located?
Who would appreciate the information given?
When would the sign appear?
How would you describe the sign?
Why is this sign important?

Working with a partner at the table, draw a scene and place as many signs as  possible from your list in their proper setting.  For example, school zone,  children at play, walk could all appear in a scene including a  neighborhood park.

Individually, write a 3.5 paragraph on why signs are important.

Staple papers together and turn in for one Table Grade.
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Learning history through gaming

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 12.58.44 PM.png
I first saw this in the Big Deal Book for Spring 2012.  MissionUS is a multimedia approach for learning history (grades 5-8) through interactive games.  The blog post written by Ryan Dube, September 2010, does a great job of describing the games.  The educator guides provide an overview that includes essential questions, background information on historical events, and classroom lessons to complement the missions.  There are additional missions planned for release in 2013 and 2014.  Head to MissionUS, bookmark it, and return often.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Civics Education

Public education must be certain all students understand their rights and responsibilities of being an American citizen. Civics lessons are included in classrooms K-12 and include teaching students to respect the rights of others, to obey rules and laws and to exercise the right to vote in elections.  The EL Civics web site provides lessons for use in K-12 classrooms and especially for ESL students. Lessons include handouts, reading selections, photos, and PowerPoint presentations.  Topics include, but are not limited to 13 Original Colonies, Political Parties, Civil War, and famous Americans.

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Kindle Class Connection

Did you know that you don’t need a Kindle to read a Kindle book?  Did you know you can download the Kindle app to your computer, iPhone, or iPod Touch?  The Kindle app is free and there are about 1.8 million free titles according to the website.  Most of the free books are classics, ones that are out of copyright, but there are others by less known authors that provide a “good read”.  Here’s the link to the Kindle App for the PC and Kindle on a Mac.

Reading a book on a computer won’t be nearly as enjoyable as ‘curling up with a good book’, but it is an opportunity to expose students to literature and tie in to curriculum topics. By accessing Kindle books, you will find titles that you can use in the classroom.  Take a look at the Top 100 Free titles from Kindle books.  One book title, ‘Chasing an Iron Horse Or, A Boy’s Adventures in the Civil War’ by Edward Robins, provides a look at a locomotive chase that actually occurred during the Civil War.

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March: National Women’s History Month

2012 National Women’s History Month Theme: Women’s Education –Women’s Empowerment

FCIT Resources contain images for use during Women’s History Month.  There are readings available in Lit2Go, such as, Solitude of Self,” Address before the U.S. Senate Committee on Women’s Suffrage, February 20, 1892
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Here are some Web sites where you can read about Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie and other women who helped make a difference and honor those who tried:

National Women’s History Project

The project’s mission is educational, and it has a wealth of resources, including a biography center, a list of women’s museums and organizations and information for students, parents and teachers.

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Learn about some great women in U.S. history, their lives, their contributions to science, art and literature and the reasons they are in the Hall of Fame.

Women in History

This site highlights influential women who made a difference through their beliefs, convictions and dreams.

Women in Math

Part of an ongoing project at Agnes Scott College, this site has a good listing of women mathematicians.

We Honor Women

Women educators, scientists, authors and politicians are part of this vast site full of biographical information.

First Ladies

Biographical information and photos are included in this America’s First Ladies site.

Women’s International Center

Information presented here is meant to honor women and their contributions to society.

History’s Women

Women of the Arts, Early Americans and Amazing Moms are just some of the categories waiting for your perusal.

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Black History Month

Web offers images, sounds and words celebrating Black History Month

Frederick Douglass

February is Black History Month, a good time to discuss the contributions made by African-Americans. Online biographical information on contemporary or historical African-Americans will prove varied and interesting. Search engines, such as Safe Search For Kids, have a user-friendly format and will provide multiple hits without concern for inappropriate items.

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) African American abolitionist

Underground Railroad

From the introductory home page with its swinging lantern, this site invites you to take a journey as only National Geographic can. Graphics, text and illustrations help retell the history of the journey many took to find freedom from slavery.

Black History

You will find information on Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr. and other famous African-Americans here.

Africans in America

PBS brings historical information to the Web using illustrations, graphics and quotes. The tale is divided into four parts and offers users a resource bank.

Encyclopedia Britannica Black History

The timeline is a wealth of information stretching from 1517 to today. Each event includes active links to important people and topics. Audio and video clips make this a multimedia stop.

African-American History

Read facts and speeches, listen to audio files, and look at the large collection of digital images.

Black Inventors

Read about Benjamin Bannekar, who produced the first Farmers’ Almanac, or Sarah Boone, inventor of the ironing board.

Interactive Quiz

This interactive quiz will help you learn information about black history. Incorrect responses require a bit more review. Be sure to read the information provided by links.

Powerful Days in Black and White

Photojournalist Charles Moore captured the face of America during the civil rights movement. Move your mouse over words such as riots, celebrate, running and segregation. Each word is a link to a photograph.

Verizon Thinkfinity

Many resources, lesson plans, and activities are available here for Black History Month.

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